Pirates of the Caribbean

The Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disneyland park, which opened in 1967, has inspired an incredible franchise of movies. To date, the previous three Pirates movies have made more than $2.7 billion – and that number will soon increase when the fourth flick, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides opens in theaters May 20.

The successful franchise started with 2003’s Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. With this film, Johnny Depp’s iconic character Captain Jack Sparrow burst onto the scene and has captivated audiences the world over ever since. While it seems crazy now, the role of Jack Sparrow was originally slated to go to Hugh Jackman! Only after Disney executives realized Jackman was relatively unknown outside his native Australia did they decide to go with Depp for the leading role. When the first film proved to be a smash hit, Walt Disney Pictures revealed that a trilogy was in the works.

Three years later, the second film – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest was released and the third film, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End followed a year later. Both films proved just as successful as the first film that started it all, and Disney has high hopes that the latest addition to the film franchise will surpass their expectations as well.

While Johnny Depp’s co-stars Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom appeared in the first three Pirates films, their storyline will not continue in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Instead, newcomer Sam Clafin, who plays missionary Philip Swift in the film, will serve as the distraction for fans who miss Bloom’s heroic Will Turner. Additionally, Penelope Cruzwill be playing opposite Johnny Depp as the pirate Angelica, who seems as if she will not be easily swayed by Captain Jack Sparrow’s charms as Knightley’s Elizabeth Swan sometimes was.

With the major success of the film franchise up to this point, Disney has already begun discussing plans for Pirates 5 and 6, with the studio aiming to shoot the films back-to-back as they did with Pirates 2 and 3. A script for the fifth film has already been turned in by co-writer Terry Rossio, making this the first script written for a Pirates film without the collaboration of Ted Elliot. At this point, however, nothing has been confirmed regarding the future of the wildly successful Pirates film franchise.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides had its world premiere at Disneyland on May 7, and will open in theaters everywhere May 20. The film will also be screened at the Cannes Film Festival May 14, and also enjoyed its very first Russian premiere on May 11 – the first time a Pirates film had ever premiered in that country.

With all of the publicity the upcoming film has garnered, it’s easy to believe that the fourth Pirates film will be just as successful as its counterparts.